Friday, 27 April, 2018

Former Seattle gorilla gives birth to baby boy

Natural instinct and a mother’s love Western lowland gorilla showers smooches on newborn at Smithsonian’s National Zoo Natural instinct and a mother’s love Western lowland gorilla showers smooches on newborn at Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Kenny Thornton | 17 April, 2018, 18:47

Calaya, now 15-years-old, is a western lowland gorilla residing at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Zoo officials say his name means "little one" or "junior" in Lingala, which is a Bantu language.

The zoo wrote on its Twitter page: "We're thrilled to share western lowland gorilla Calaya gave birth to a male at 6:25 p.m. 4/15".

There was also video shared by the zoo that showed Calaya holding Moke in her arms while giving the infant gorilla kisses on his face.

"The primate team's goal was to set Calaya up for success as best we could, given that she is a first-time mother", said Meredith Bastian, the curator of primates.

Calaya became an online star after the zoo announced she was pregnant with the hashtag #GorillaStory, which will continue to be used to update followers on Moke's progress. Zookeepers asked Calaya to touch and kiss the plush baby, hold it gently and present her chest so it can nurse.

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Calaya was taught to urinate on command to allow hormone analysis and to manipulate her breasts to assess lactation and allow nutrient evaluations.

'This infant's arrival triggers many emotions-joy, excitement, relief-and pride that all of our perseverance in preparing Calaya for motherhood has paid off. Moke's new family consists of both his mother and father, Baraka. They are considered a critically endangered species according to the Smithsonian.

Moke is the first baby gorilla born at the zoo in nine years.

Native to Africa, western lowland gorillas live in the forests of Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Congo.

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